THE CARTOON CRYPT: Philips Broadcast 1938


This is a short cartoon from 1938 by George Pal advertising Philips radios. Special effects pioneer George Pal was the king of what is known as “replacement animation” in the world of stop motion animation.

Replacement animation is an extremely labor intensive process (in the already inherently labor intensive process of animation) where different elements of an animation puppet are removed and replaced with another similar item in a slightly different pose. A single character can potentially have hundreds of replaceable elements in different poses.

It is very common for this technique to be used with character’s heads… Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas is a good example of a very-well done puppet with replaceable facial poses.

The Phillips Broadcast animation is remarkable in how much of it is done with replacement animation… the heads are replaceable on all the characters… but so are entire bodies. The shapes distort and transform wonderfully with the kind of physical exaggeration generally only seen in hand-drawn animation.

It boggles the mind how much labor must have gone into this short film. It has to be seen to be believed. It is truly a masterpiece of stop-motion animation.

Note that it is REALLY, REALLY worth your time to go and view this cartoon at a higher resolution with much more brilliant color here on the Europa Film Treasures site (unfortunately that version is not embeddable on this website).

WARNING: This cartoon contains racial depictions that many will find offensive. If this sort of thing bothers you, you may not want to view it.

Go here to check out the George Pal DVD set George Pal – Flights of Fantasy
on Amazon, which contains this and many other cartoons.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Pete Roleum and His Cousins (1939)

Here is a gorgeusly designed and animated, extremely bizarre stop-motion animation for the petroleum industry from the demented mind of Charley Bowers, the man who made the previously posted and equally bizarre Metal Eating Bird.

Note that you can get a dvd called Charley Bowers: The Rediscovery of an American Comic Genius (1926), which includes all of the Bowers films known to still exist here.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: The Mascot (1933)


A great, great short by Ladislaw Starewicz, The Mascot, in three parts. I posted a short excerpt from this cartoon previously… this is the full cartoon at a much better quality. The Mascot is one of the most bizarre and beautiful puppet animations I’ve ever seen. And it has a monkey! Don’t miss it!

Part 1

Part 2


Read more about Ladislaw Starewicz at Animation Heaven and Hell.

Read more about Ladislaw Starewicz at Wikipedia.

See a tribute site to Ladislaw Starewicz made by his granddaughter.

For more old cartoons with monkeys, go here.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Metal Eating Bird (1930)


Here is an utterly bizarre short by the largely forgotten animator and actor Charley Bowers. You have to skip over the excessively obnoxious first 40 seconds to get to the film. The fantastic animation isn’t until the last half of the film.

Read more about this film on the Internet Movie Database.

There’s a Charley Bowers DVD that I gotta see one of these days. Here’s the product description for that:

Who is Charley Bowers? The inventor of the no-slipping banana skin, unbreakable eggs, and cat-pushing trees! At the end of the 1920s, this unknown genius created and directed a score of cinematic burlesques filled with surrealist imagination, crammed with fantastic sights and animated puppets, among which the most delicious include “Egged On,” “Fatal Footstep” and “Now You Tell One.” His body of work is unique, though the astonishing course his career took has been chronicled by few and left him as one of the more enigmatic figures of American cinema. After a childhood spent with the circus, he became interested in animated drawing, adapting comic strips for the cinema including the “Mutt and Jeff” series created by Bud Fisher. Advances in animation which developed during this period explain the astonishing illusions which emerged in these comedic shorts. In the 1930s he directed “It#s a Bird,” his first sound film. Bowers returned to animation for advertising films, in particular the first short film by Joseph Losey, the oil-commissioned “Pete Roleum and His Cousins,” while also continuing his puppet films. He died in 1946, completely forgotten. To this day, 11 of the 20 short comedies are still considered lost. At the end of the 1960s, vault discoveries provided more of his story and three of the exhumed films were shown in 1976 at the Annecy Animated Film Festival, where they were met with enthusiasm. After 1992, worldwide research retrieved surviving prints of the missing films with requests to the world#s notable cinema collectors, who allowed access to their original elements. For the first time this extraordinary collection assembles the complete films of Charley Bowers which survive today, magnificently restored from the original elements with the collaboration of ten cinema societies.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Ladislaw Starewicz’s The Mascot


Here is an excerpt from the fabulous, surreal Ladislaw Starewicz stop-motion animation short “The Mascot” from 1933… there is a lot more to this cartoon that is not shown, but unfortunately, this is the longest clip of it I’ve seen on the internet. Anyone out there know of a full version somewhere?

UPDATE: I have posted the full version here.

In any case, you can see the full version along with a lot of other amazing Starewicz cartoons on the The Cameraman’s Revenge and Other Fantastic Tales DVD. Starewicz was one of the earliest stop-motion animators.

You can read more about Starewicz here.

There are some short Starewicz videos, along with some other amazing eastern European stop motion animation examples that I ran across here.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Ray Harryhausen’s Mother Goose


This is a fun, early Ray Harryhausen cartoon… it is clunky compared to much of his later work (Harryhausen is probably most famous for the stop motion animation in The Clash of the Titans and the Sinbad movies), but very charming nonetheless. You can already see what a talented animator he is… he puts a lot of subtle detail into the characters’ movements.

He has some pretty interesting verses I hadn’t heard in there for Old Mother Hubbard.

THE CARTOON CRYPT: Monkey of the Week, April 6, 2007: The Peanut Vendor


Meet the Peanut Vendor. It is credited to “Len Lye” on youtube (although in the comments, someone claims it is actually by Dave Fleischer). Judging from the other Len Lye films on youtube, it seems unlikely it is by him, as none of the others feature any character animation that I saw… and the character animation in this gem is quite good, and would appear to be by someone with experience. Anyone know the answer to this?


Update: It is directed by Dave Fleischer all right. No wonder it’s so great.

Update 2: Or not… Tyler in the comments points us to, which credits it to Len Lye here. Tyler says:

Hi – I can assure you that this film is by Len Lye – see my comment on YouTube. The monkey happens to be owned by the New Zealand Film Archive, actually. Lye made one other stop-motion animated film – The Birth of the Robot. Anyway, glad you liked the film.

Thanks Tyler! says:

Experimental Animation (also “Peanut Vendor”) (1934)
3 min, 35mm, b&w, sound
Music: “Peanut Vendor” by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies
The protagonist of this film is a marionette monkey built by the film-maker himself. Lye presented this film as a prototype in the hope of finding partners for a series of puppet films, but without success.

So, presumably, the Internet Movie Database is wrong, which credits the film to Dave Fleischer (item 301) and makes no mention of it under Len Lye’s filmography. Or it’s right and the Len Lye site is wrong, but I’m leaning towards Len Lye at this point, since I have seen no credible attributon to Fleischer. I have no idea who did it, but it’s a great cartoon! Now I want to see The Birth of the Robot…